A Virginia pharmacy will no longer be allowed to administer COVID-19 vaccines after mistakenly giving more than 100 children the wrong dose of the shot.
Ted Pharmacy, in Loudon County – around 30 miles northwest of Washington D.C. = reportedly gave 112 children aged five to 11 doses of the vaccine meant for teens and adults.
Younger children are meant to receive one-third the dosage and the vaccine comes packaged with an orange vial cap instead of a purple cap to help physicians distinguish between the two.
Ted Pharmacy has lost its supply of the vaccine, and will no longer be allowed to distribute the shots, reported NBC Washington.
Ted Pharmacy (pictured) in Loudon County, Virginia, has reportedly giver more than 100 children aged five to 11 dosages of the COVID-19 vaccine that are made for people 12 and older. The pharmacy will no longer be allowed to distribute the vaccine
Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children are ten micrograms, a third of the size of the 30 microgram doses for people 12 and older. Pictured: A child in Louisville, Kentucky, receives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
‘I had this pit in my stomach that, like, what did they just do to my daughter?’ Dasha Hermosilla – whose seven year old daughter Gryffin received an incorrect dose earlier this month – told NBC Washington.
Hermosilla said that when she brought her concerns to the pharmacy they brushed her off.
‘The way they have dealt with individuals is really, like: “Oh, it’s no big deal…there are dozens and dozens of families out there that don’t even know that this is an issue,”‘ she said.
The Loudon County Department of Health is alerting parents about the error made by the pharmacy.
Health officials tell parents they can either wait 21 days and restart their child’s vaccine series, or they can get the second dose of the vaccine as scheduled, but should consult with a pediatrician about what the best option is.
They also ask parents to be on the lookout for potential side effects their child may be feeling from the increased dosage of the shot.
In order to help physicians distinguish between the child and adult versions of the vaccine, Pfizer packaged the doses for those aged five to 11 with orange vial tops and orange branding (pictured). The versions made for people 12 and older are branded in purple
State officials told NBC Washington that the Virginia Board of Pharmacy opened an investigation into the pharmacy, though the organization said it is against protocol to confirm if an investigation is taking place.
‘Should an investigation reveal there is probable cause to believe a law or regulation was broken an Informal Conference or a Formal Hearing before the board may be held for consideration of possible disciplinary action,’ the board told NBC Washington in a statement.
‘The Board’s findings of fact and resulting actions are contained in a Board Order that becomes a matter of public record available online on the Board of Pharmacy’s website under License Lookup and Recent Case Decisions.’
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine became available to children aged five to 11 last week, putting the U.S. among the nations with the youngest eligible vaccine population.
It is a two-dose regimen for children of that age, just like it is for adults, but the shots are only 10 micrograms, compared to the 30 microgram shots being used for those aged 12 or older.
Experts believe the vaccine is just as effective in children when given in ten microgram doses as it is when given to adults in 30 microgram doses.
Unlike other medicines, which dosage is usually determined by weight, vaccines generate an immune response, so age is more important.
‘If you give a full adult dose of [a drug] to a very small child, their liver or kidneys may not be able to manage that full dose,’ Dr Stanley Spinner, chief medical officer at Texas Children’s Hospital, told NBC.
‘But vaccines are inducing an immune response. So it doesn’t matter what your weight is. It’s really based on the immune response and that is more age-related.’
In only the first week of the jab’s availability, nearly one million children in the age group got their first shot.
Many parents do not plan to get their child the jab yet, though, with less than a third answering their child would get vaccinated ‘right away’ to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.